News review of the day – June 24th

Romania’s new SIE chief

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis nominated Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu as new chief of Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). Mr. Iohannis made the appointment in a letter sent to the both chambers in Parliament on Wednesday. The parliament is expected to approve the appointment according to constitutonal provisions. Born on September 22, 1968, Mihai-Răzvan Ungureanu is a Romanian historian, politician and former Prime Minister of Romania. He was also Foreign Minister of Romania between December 28, 2004 – March 12, 2007, before becoming chief of the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service later in 2007. Mr. Ungureanu was appointed Prime Minister following the resignation of the Emil Boc Cabinet and served through April 2012 when his cabinet was dismissed after a no-confidence vote in parliament.

Romania’s missile defence shield essential for national and regional security, PM Victor Ponta says

The missile defence shield is essential for Romania’s national security as well foe security in the region, and Romania cannot be intimidated by threats. The comment belongs to Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta who made the statement in a message on his Twitter account on Wednesday. Mr. Ponta posted the message in response to a statement of Russia’s Security Council who said Romania and Poland could become Moscow’s potential targets as they both were expected to host NATO’s and US missile defence shield. Both NATO and US repeatedly dismissed Russia’s allegations about being their target.  However, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters in June that Russia „will be forced to aim its armed forces… at those territories from where the threat comes.”

UK’s MI6 chief on a visit to Romania

The head of UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) was in Romania for visit on Tuesday. Alex Younger met Romanian President Klaus Iohanis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in the capital Bucharest before holding talks with his Romanian counterpart Eduard Hellwig, head of the country’s Intelligence Service (SRI). Talks between Mr. Younger and  President Iohannis focused mainly on issues concerning the British – Romanian Strategic Partnership. Issues concerning future co-operation between the British and Romanian secret services and efficient ways of fighting terrorism were also under debate during talks between Mr. Younger and Mr. Hellwig, according to a statement made by SRI spokesman Sorin Sava. Alex Younger also met Romania’s acting Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea at the Victoria Palace. Mr. Younger joined SIS in 1991 before becoming its chief in 2014. He succeeded Sir John Sawers on his retirement.

New DNA allegations against Romanian MP Sebastian Ghiţă

Further allegations were launched by Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) against a local lawmaker already involved in a corruption-related case. Former deputy Sebastian Ghiţă is under investigation for crimes he allegedly commited during and before his mandate as deputy of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD). Mr. Ghiţă arrived at the DNA headquarters in the Romanian town of Ploieşti, Prahova county, some 60 km. north from the capital Bucharest, early on Wednesday, and told reporters he was not aware of the new charges brought against him. However, sources say the new charges include influence peddling while trying to persuade voters to support PSD during the general elections in 2012 and presidential elections last fall. Prosecutors believe Mr. Ghiţă still controls more that 50 companies as he tried to use their cash as electoral bribe.

Alexandru Danga